The Red Walls and the Mysterious Doors of Coleen

 

Coleen was already wide awake. But she still kept her eyes tightly shut. She was very puzzled and overwhelmed about her recent false awakenings. Four false awakenings in a row, she thought. That was an extremely strange experience for her. Although she had knowledge about lucid dreaming and read different accounts about false awakenings, she never yet had the hands-on experience of having one.

She opened her eyes and wished that this would be the waking reality. Having lucid dreams and false awakenings would be really a delightful experiences for her, an experience that she might even seek after, but not on this day—not on her wedding day. She just couldn’t afford to be late and be bothered the whole day because of a dream.

She sat on her bed, studying the room around her. So far, nothing weird to indicate she’s in a dream again, though, this wasn’t the room she’s accustomed to seeing. Instead, she was in a room of a very luxurious hotel that her boyfriend’s family reserved for her. Her boyfriend, Hale, and his family just love her so much, that when her boyfriend proposed to her, she couldn’t just say no. Besides, how could she say no to one of the most sought after celebrity?

She sighed.

She looked outside the window and realized it was still dark. Realizing that she couldn’t manage to sleep again, she decided to take a leisurely stroll outside. She wanted to think about things, about her would-be life after the wedding, and definitely, she felt that the silent night was a perfect time for her to do so. She was about to reached the door handle when she realized something odd. Her hands didn’t look quite right. How so? She ignored that peculiar fact and she stepped outside the room.

This time, it dawned on her, hard and fast.

She was still dreaming.

The walls at the hotel didn’t look red at all the last time she remembered. Besides, she was seeing colors now everywhere. Each room seemed to be assigned with different colors, and she noticed that at every door, there were huge open windows opposite to it radiating colorful lights.

She panicked at the sight of all this. She grabbed the door handle to go back inside her room to lie. There is a belief that in order to wake up from a dream or a lucid dream, you have to steady yourself, lie, and not move at all. She was thinking of doing this over and over again, until she would find herself in reality.

However, she was stopped at what she saw posted at the door.

In bold printed letters, there was a note:

THIS IS THE DOOR OF CONSCIOUSNESS.

WHEN YOU GO BACK INSIDE, YOU WILL LOSE FOREVER THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR YOU.

WHEN THAT HAPPENS, YOU WILL SURELY DIE.

GO BACK AT YOUR OWN RISK.

 

Her hand still on the doorknob, Coleen tried twisting it to check if it would open. It twisted, alright. Then she reread again the note. Now, what should she do? She has no idea what was happening, and she felt that time was ticking fast. From what she read, she knew that dream time matches the time in reality. And she was losing time by staying here.

Again, she thought about what she should do. What is the most important thing for her? What could she possibly lose? And why would she die when that happens? Would she really die? Or maybe, this was just a simple dream that she should ignore. But still, the dream had already warned her. Go back at your own risk. What if this dream was telling the truth?

She glanced again around her. The walls were still red. It hadn’t even changed a bit the way dream details usually do. Then, she looked again at the note, hoping the note was gone. But it was still there.

The Door of Consciousness, she thought. Then, there must be a Door of Unconscious or Subconscious, psychology stuffs like that. She regarded the idea for a moment and decided to check the other doors. She walked swiftly, almost flying, to the next door—the purple one. She was hoping to see the Door of Unconscious or something like that. But then, what she saw on the purple door was just a printed label.

SORROW

 

Sorrow, she mused. Should she enter this one? She wondered what was on the other side of the door.

She peered through the hallway. There were still a lot of other doors. She felt that she has to check the others first before deciding what to do. She flew toward the next door, the blue door, with a label of: PEACEFULNESS. Then, she went on to the next, the white door: SICKNESS and PRETENSIONS. Then to the green door: NATURE WALKS. Then to the yellow door: LITTLE JOYS. Then lastly, to the orange door: FOOD.

What the hell was this, she thought. There was even a FOOD label on one of the doors. She couldn’t even think of what those labels might mean.

She decided to enter the orange door with the FOOD label, thinking this would be better than choosing the purple door: SORROW.  When she stepped inside, she seemed to glimpse a jar at the top of a wooden table, however, the door automatically and loudly shut behind her. She spun around and tried to twist the doorknob again, but then it would not budge. Then a note, posted on the wall, magically appeared out of nowhere. It said:

BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR WHAT YOU CHOOSE.

FOR WHENEVER YOU CHOOSE SOMETHING, YOU ALSO REJECT SOMETHING.

NOW, YOU HAVE A CHOICE.

DO YOU REALLY WANT TO LEAVE AND NEVER LOOK BACK?

 

She didn’t know why, but the message seemed to strike something within her. She thought about it for a moment. She was always like this, always having trouble to decide, even if the decision could be answerable by a plain Yes or No.

While she wasn’t yet decided, she considered the room around her. She was surprised that the room look duller than when she first entered and the jar on top of the wooden table was nowhere to be found. She wondered about what happened; she looked back at the door, and saw that another message was posted.

YOU CAN NEVER FOOL FATE

TO LOOK THEN LEAVE,

OR LEAVE THEN TURN BACK?

YOU WILL NEVER SEE THE ENTIRETY OF ANYTHING UNLESS YOU CHOOSE.

 

Fine, she said. She decided to stick with her decision of choosing the orange door, and not leave. When she had said that aloud, the door vanished and the room stretched in infinity from all sides, and she could not see any more walls. Instantly, she felt like regretting her decision.

What should she do now, how could she get back when there was no door? She was already on her knees, and on the verge of tears, when something from behind her spoke.

What are you afraid of? It was a soothing and calming voice from a man.

When she heard the voice, an image of a man in white formed instantly on her mind. She turned around to look at the source of the voice, but instead of seeing anyone, she only saw a wooden table with a jar on top, the same one she saw a while ago.

She stood and approached the table. She placed a hand on the table and asked it if it was the one who spoke to her.

“No, silly. It was me, Coleen,” a voice boomed out of the jar.

“A—are you the one then?”

“I’m not the One, but I am the one who spoke a while ago, if you know what I mean.”

“I d-don’t actually understand, b-but maybe you could help me, what should I do then here, er—jar?”

“Haha. That was nice of you to address me as jar. Haha. You could call me Pat.”

“Pot?”

“Pat. P-A-T. Pat,” the jar said, with a laugh.

“Oh, sorry, Pat.” Coleen said smiling, and feeling more relieved. She was very glad that she had someone to talk to now, even if it was a piece of jar.

She asked the jar what she should do, but the jar said that she’s the only one who could answer that question. She tried to ask again another question, but the jar just insisted for her to relax and to just pick some candies from him.

“You could pick as many candies as you want from me. I have different kinds from all over the world. Here, get some.”

Coleen loves chocolates ever since, but wasn’t really into eating. So she just picked one chewy chocolate candy and one chocolate lollipop from the jar. After that, she thanked the jar.

Then, in an instant, everything around her vanished then changed and morphed, and she couldn’t control anything happening around her, then, she saw trees sprouting from everywhere. She closed her eyes for fear of what might happen next. She just opened her eyes when everything seemed still.

She was not in any room or hallway anymore, instead, she found herself standing on a bridge.

The place was stunning. It was majestic in its beauty. Coleen thought that this was the kind of place anyone would hope to see before they die. Yet, despite of its beauty, she felt that the wind was very cold and freezing, and she caught a glimpse of her frail look reflected on the clear water below her. She looked around; she didn’t want to be in this place. The place just felt empty and cold to her. Then, she remembered about the note that she had seen about having a choice to leave. It echoed on her mind.

DO YOU REALLY WANT TO LEAVE AND NEVER LOOK BACK?

 

She said yes. But then, she doubted. Remembering the previous note:

YOU WILL NEVER SEE THE ENTIRETY OF ANYTHING UNLESS YOU CHOOSE.

 

The place was very magnificent, how could anyone say no to a place as beautiful as this, besides, she felt that her skin were smoother and silkier here, as if the place itself wanted her badly, and the place would take great care of her here.

Then, she thought: This is where I should be. Who knows what I might discover in here? It must be better than a talking jar.

But then, the cold wind blew again. And she felt her fingers freezing and numbing. Then she remembered again:

FOR WHENEVER YOU CHOOSE SOMETHING, YOU ALSO REJECT SOMETHING.

 

What am I rejecting then when I choose this place to explore? She wondered. And she realized what it was: the WARMTH. But is lack of warmth enough for her to leave this beautiful place?

She stood there with eyes closed, thinking, feeling, and remembering all the memories she could. Then she stopped. She just saw in her mind a locked wooden door, which for some unknown reason looked very familiar to her. She tried to think about it again by closing her eyes, curious what could be on the other side of the wooden door, and soon enough, she felt that her surroundings were starting to shift, and slowly she was feeling warmth in her skin. With her eyes still closed, she touched the wooden door in her mind.

Then, she stopped, abruptly, for as soon as she touched the wooden door with its warmth getting on her freezing palm, she had heard a voice. It was her own voice, saying over and over again:

THERE ARE SOME MEMORIES THAT ARE FORBIDDEN TO RECALL.

THAT YOU CHOOSE NOT TO RECALL. ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK.

 

She knew without really knowing that it would be best for her to leave the wooden door alone. Whatever might be inside must be something that she really did not want to see or choose to forget as the voice had said. And she wouldn’t break that now.

Then she redirected her thoughts to Hale, their upcoming wedding, how Hale and his family love her.  Then slowly, the ground beneath her stabilized, and she felt the cold wind came back. She opened her eyes, and found herself still on the bridge.

She took a deep sigh, and made up her mind.

And as soon as she has decided, everything took in its own course again. Changes happened here and there until she was back again at where she started, at the hallway with red walls and colorful doors.

She walked past the other doors until she reached the red door—the Door of Consciousness, and she saw that the note was still there.

THIS IS THE DOOR OF CONSCIOUSNESS.

WHEN YOU GO BACK, YOU WILL LOSE FOREVER THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR YOU.

WHEN THAT HAPPENS, YOU WILL SURELY DIE.

GO BACK AT YOUR OWN RISK.

 

She reached for the doorknob. She hasn’t yet found the most important thing for her, but she didn’t care about that now. She has a wedding to attend, her wedding. Hale was important for her, though not the most important of all. But still, she wouldn’t want to hurt Hale’s feeling. She has to go back.

She was already decided. She twisted the knob already, and she had almost opened the door, when a voice behind her spoke.

Are you sure?

She stopped, shocked. That voice was unbelievably familiar. Yet she couldn’t remember whose voice she heard it from. She stood unmoving, torn between the decision to go back to reality, or to explore more the deepest secrets of herself.

 

 —————————————————————————————————

 

I really enjoyed writing this story!

This is my entry for Indigo’s Spider, Sunday Picture Press: Portals and Jars. And I love love love the picture prompts! The pictures are all beautiful and they possess many possibilities for story making. As you might notice, I used all the picture prompts, with Visual Prompt 1 as my main tool, and I also incorporated the two twists of Jars and Portals.

This is one of my first stories written in third POV! All in all, this contains 2,272 words. And still, it wasn’t finished. There were just so many possibilities and so many portals Coleen could explore! And whether she’ll go back to reality or whether she’ll decide to explore more her secrets that she herself isn’t aware of can be another interesting spin-off.

27 Comments

  1. Awesome! What a twisting, turning, diving, swimming tale. It reminded me a bit of Inception, the movie. It also had a very folk tale feel, like the purpose of the story is to convey a bigger moral lesson. I can definitely see how it would continue.

  2. This is the strongest story I’ve read from you so far, very well done. I can tell you enjoyed writing it and it really had such great elements that pulled me in, fantastic read. Great world. Eery dream-like feel throughout and you incorporated both portals and jars so well along with each picture, fantastic. I was reading quickly because I was sucked in yet didn’t want it to end, just great.

    I also have to say the pictures look really well on your blog, with the black background, the pictures really pop! Especially that first one, the brightly colored one.

    • Wow, indigo spider! You just didn’t know how happy you made me this day. Seeing your comment and the comment of scribbla had brighten up my day. Really, you had no idea. And thank you.

      I guess, I’m already improving when it comes to writing stories! And I’m so excited for your other upcoming Sunday picture press. It’s one of the things I always look forward to every week. :) And thanks to your wonderful picture prompts and very unique twists, without it, I wouldn’t even come up with a decent story!

  3. Pingback: Sunday Picture Press: Travelations | Indigo Spider

  4. Hi Pink,

    I just read your post on grammar, and as i said there, you’re brave to be so open and to ask for help. As an English teacher I can’t stop myself jumping in and offering a couple pointers (You did ask for them in your grammar post :-).

    Original Sentence: Although she had knowledge about lucid dreaming and read different accounts about false awakenings, she never yet had the hands-on experience of having one.

    Edited: Although she had knowledge about lucid dreaming and HAD read different accounts about false awakenings, she never yet had the experience of having one.

    Collen read the books before she possessed the knowledge, so you have to add the “had” (the fancy term is Past Perfect Tense). Also, I think it flows better without the “hands-on.”

    Here’s just a quick and dirty list of verb tenses I give my students. There are a ton of exceptions, but hopefully this will give you a start. I hope it helps (BTW, the tenses are given in chronological order). If you have any specific questions, sent me an email.

    Past Perfect: HAD + -ed… I had possessed
    Past: -ed… I possessed
    Present: __…I possess
    Future Perfect: WILL HAVE + -ed…I will have possessed
    Future: WILL… I will possess

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